Mr. Tree to
the United States,
March 30, 1888.
(Received April 9.)
Sir: Referring to your No. 97, of the 30th of
January last, relative to the imitation by persons in Belgium of gold coins
of the United States, and of postage-stamps and obligations of foreign
governments and our own, I have the honor to transmit herewith the
correspondence had with the Belgian minister of foreign affairs on the
The question upon which information was asked of the Government, that is, as
to whether the laws of Belgium prohibit the manufacture of the species of
imitations described in the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury, it will
be observed, is not directly answered in the note of the Prince de
As far as I can learn from other sources, there is no law on the subject in
Belgium. I submitted the question to Mr. Devolder, present minister of the
interior and of public instruction and, until within a few months, minister
of justice, on one occasion, when in conversation with him, and he told me
that he knew of no law of the kind here, although, he admitted that such a
law ought to exist.
I will not fail to promptly transmit any further information which I may
receive on the subject through the foreign office.
I have, etc.,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 321.]
Mr. Tree to the
Prince de Chimay.
Legation of the United States,
Your Excellency: I have the honor to inclose
herewith a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury to the
Secretary of State, relative to the importation to the United States by
certain persons resident in Germany and Belgium, of pieces of metal,
resembling closely in size, color, and partly in design, the several
gold coins of the United States; also imitations of other coins,
postage-stamps, and other obligations of foreign governments, as well as
that of the United States, in full size and in miniature, and of the
exact appearance of genuine issues.
It appears from the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury that the
importation of these imitations of coin, postage-stamps, obligations,
and other representatives of valuable things has led to great abuses,
and especially that many ignorant persons are thereby defrauded.
In the United States the fabrication of such articles by persons resident
therein would be adjudged illegal.
I would be greatly obliged if your excellency would kindly inform me
whether the laws of Belgium prohibit the manufacture of the articles
described in the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury, in order that
I may acquaint my Government with the state of the law here.
Thanking your excellency in advance, I equally avail myself, etc.,
[Inclosure 2 in No. 321.
The Prince de
Chimay to Mr. Tree
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Mr. Minister: I have the honor to acknowledge
the reception of your dispatch of the 14th of February last, relative to
the counterfeiting of postage-stamps, bank-bills, and American
The question has been brought to the attention of the competent
authorities in Belgium, and I will not fail to keep you advised of any
facts which may be stated by the said authorities.
Accept, Mr. Minister, etc.